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What's a Resume Worth?

Hi All —

Douglas here, in for Lee Hill this Wednesday.

Today on the show RNC Chairman Mike Duncan defends Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That's not surprising. But what really caught my ear was his comment that Palin has "made more decisions in a short period of time than anyone in the United States Senate has been able to do." Duncan's argument brought up a question I've been pondering, since the early days of the contest, when the big issue was whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama was better qualified.

How do you measure one's ability to be a leader?

It's a fundamental issue we've all probably debated at some point. But so far - to me anyway - the question seems to be reduced to a comparison of each of the candidate's job titles and years of service. Palin's time as a small town mayor versus Obama's time as community organizer. McCain's long record in the Senate versus Obama's outsider advantage. Biden's position on the Senate Foreign relations committee versus Palin's command of the Alaskan National Guard.

Has the conversation devolved — or maybe I should say stalled — into a numbers game? It's a big decision we're all contemplating — who's the next president of arguably the most powerful country in the world? If resumes do matter, should the length of a job matter more than actual performance — or wisdom gained? Everyone knows Obama was a community organizer. Not so many know exactly what he accomplished in this role. Conversely, everyone knows McCain commanded a Navy squadron, but what did this teach him about leadership? Presumably, he learned something, but that's not on the table.

With all this talk about 'executive' experience, are we missing the point? Speaking as someone who has a very nontraditional resume - delayed college for several years, bounced around professions, etc - I'm not sure the candidates' job titles or how long they held the jobs deserve so much attention. I'm more interested in what's between the lines.


Speaking of things between the lines, check out our conversation about voting rights and solutions some advocates are proposing to make sure potential voters don't get shut out. Also, Michel talks with playwright Daniel Beaty's about his new work Resurrection, which explores the lives of six African American men. Actor Jefery V. Thompson also joins in to reflect on his personal connection with his character ' Bishop'.

More from Michel tomorrow.